It was a little after 11 am on Sunday, 15 March 2015. Asher Naveed, a member of the parish council and a voluntary security guard at Lahore’s Christ Church in Youhanabad, was sitting at the back of the church with seven other members of the security team. Glancing at his watch, Naveed realized that the sermon had gone on for longer than usual; by now, congregants who did not want to join in the Communion would ordinarily be leaving the church. One man, his wife and daughter, snuck out from the pews, headed towards Naveed, and asked him to open the church doors so they could leave.
Less than a minute after the family walked out, Naveed heard the man’s motorbike rev up, followed by the sound of gunshots.
“I heard five or six shots, in quick succession,” Naveed recalled when he spoke to me. In the few seconds of silence that followed, one of guards headed to a small door near the entrance. “We thought it was some miscreants causing a commotion outside, or at worst, a shooting between people from the neighbourhood (Youhanabad),” Naveed said. The guard cracked the door open and peered outside; seconds later, he was swept off his feet and thrown backwards into the church by the force of an explosion.